Awaking in the underworld after Fields of Elysium’s cliffhanger, you find yourself throw into battle with the ferocious Cerberos, the three-headed hellhound whom guards the domain of Hades. The spectacular opening gambit set Torment of Hades off to a strong start and makes for an exhilarating test of skill.
However, Hades is displeased that you have slain his pet, and with nothing guarding the gates of hell, the equilibrium is disturbed, with wayward souls free to wander back and forth. To right your wrong, you must seek out four fallen heroes to stand sentinel in the beast’s stead, thus restoring balance. This exposition feels a little basic, and off you reluctantly venture to once again carry out the busy work of the gods.
With wandering souls set loose, Charon, ferryman of the Styx, requires your help to track down those who are lost. These missions make for some poignant reflection on the ghosts of your past. An ashen-skinned Phoibe does not recognize you despite your best efforts but in aiding her to find a lost item you bring her peace. In these moments the bleakness of the arid, gloom-draped underworld seems to dissipate, giving way to strong character moments which transcend the banality of your circumstance.
Another step in your redemption involves retrieving the Armour of the Fallen, a powerful and suitably goth set that enables you to pass through Tartaros veils, behind which some of the heroes you seek dwell. Tartaros rifts take the place of Marble Maidens; triggering these portals allows you to enter the spirit world, at the forfeit of half your health. Defeating the spectral warriors who guard these rifts allows you to seal them, pushing back the encroaching tide of stray undead.
Keeper’s Insight also make a return. Battlecry of Ares, Slow Time and Ruin of Destruction all get augmented upgrades, each accompanied by an impressive visual enhancement rendered in shimmering gold. The Fallen constitute hell’s Mercenaries and provide a dozen fresh foes to hunt. Atop this hierarchy stand the four heroes you seek, whom offer the most formidable challenge. While your battles with Herakles, Perseus, Achilles and Agamemnon help punctuate the 5-hour adventure and further bring Odyssey’s Greek mythos to life, they offer little to mix up the ebb and flow of combat.
Although Torment of Hades is well paced, avoiding the bloat of Field of Elysium, its formulaic story lacks the scope or complexity and thus the intrigue and drama of its predecessor, resulting in a severe lack of choice and a predictable climax. Hades, lord of the underworld, is a rather timid character and while he at times exudes the dark lord’s quintessential malice-laced charm and altruism in his few moments on-screen, he lacks the power or presence ascribed to Hell’s overlord. Equally, modern-day scenes which bookend the episode do a serviceable job continuing the overarching story line but, ultimately, Layla’s tale remains uninspired.
Torment of Hades is a good continuation of the Fate of Atlantis storyline yet lacks the narrative nuance that kept the first episode engaging. Some affecting character moments give heart to an otherwise lacklustre story and Odyssey’s rich mythos feels deepened by this foray into the underworld. Strong art design makes this vision of hell arresting; rivers of blood and spires of jagged rock and bone bring a morbid majesty to the cinder-speckled landscape, drenching it in a thick atmosphere and imbuing it with a Mordorian grandeur. While enhanced abilities again feel mostly superfluous, a series of challenging boss battles and some refreshing twists to combat iterate and improve Odyssey’s already excellent gameplay.
Assassin's Creed Odyssey - The Fate of Atlantis: Torment of Hades PS4 Review
Torment of Hades suffers from formulaic storytelling yet some touching character moments and exciting twists on combat make this adventure through an atmospheric underworld a worthy continuation of the Fate of Atlantis expansion.
- Strong art design make the underworld a stunning and sinister setting
- Ghosts of your past make this trip to the afterlife a poignant one
- New twists to gameplay keep combat challenging and exciting
- Formulaic storytelling and a dull antagonist fail to keep the story engaging
- Enhanced abilities again prove useless
- Quests feel like busy work in the story’s context
Reviewed using PS4 Pro.
Max is a lover of games, fine whisky and dogs with soft faces. Often seeking out games Chris dubs “artsy sh*t”, some say Max has a refined taste, while others simply consider him pretentious. Wherever you stand on the matter, he undeniably writes words. His other hobbies including leading a cult, touching dog’s faces and telling everyone he is vegan.